Local Politics

Sharpsburg mayor-elect arrested, shortly after winning race

Posted May 9, 2018 5:41 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT

— Voters in Sharpsburg during the May 8 election decided to elect a new mayor, who, a few hours after his electoral win, was behind bars, where he was taken after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence, authorities said.

Robert L. Williams Jr. was released on bond Wednesday from the Nash County Detention Center after he was picked up while leaving a local polling site.

He is expected to appear in court on June 5, where he will face several charges including driving while impaired, carrying a concealed weapon, having a concealed gun after/while consuming alcohol, carrying a concealed handgun-private premises prohibited sign/statement and two counts of resisting/delaying/obstructing public officer discharge duties, according to the Nash County Sheriff's Office.

When reach by WRAL News, Williams said he had no comment and referred questions to his lawyer.

The arrest of Williams has many people talking.

"I think the town needs to regroup and find out what the whole story is," said Gene McLeod, who lives in Sharpsburg.

Williams defeated incumbent Mayor Randy Weaver by just seven votes after the polls closed Tuesday night. Williams also ran in 2013 and 2017 and filed protests with election officials after losing both previous races.

According to the unofficial election results, Williams won the race with 169 votes or 51 percent of the vote total.

His run-in with the law started when a "concerned citizen" called police to say a white Dodge pickup driven by Williams was weaving over the road, said Sharpsburg police Chief John Hunt. The law enforcement officer who pulled Williams over smelled alcohol on Williams, who was then asked to get out of the vehicle, Hunt said.

During the interaction with law enforcement, Williams allegedly resisted the officer.

"There was a struggle at that point," Hunt said. "He sort of struggled a little bit."

Authorities said they were told Williams was drunk when he left the polling place. Police said despite being elected to the city's top post, Williams must be held accountable.

"I made a promise to the people that we'll keep our street clear of DWIs and other traffic violations," Hunt said. "Nobody is above the law."

When asked how the city should handle the incident, Blake Proctor, the town administrator, could not provide an answer.

"I have been in (government) for 40 years and this is the first time this has happened to me," he said. "So, I have no idea."